Saturday, April 29, 2023

Wars of the Roses Foot Knights: Baron Audley

James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley, was a noted veteran of the Hundred Years War. He raised troops from his estates, and supported the Lancastrian cause. He commanded the Lancastrian forces at the Battle of Blore Heath ( September 23, 1459), where he was killed. 

His son, John, 6th Baron Audley, was captured by the Earl of Warwick in Calais in 1460. While he was there, he met the future Edward IV, and was persuaded to defect to the Yorkist cause.  

Sir John fought for Edward's cause at the battles of Mortimer's Cross, Barnet, and Tewkesbury.

Sir John was appointed Lord High Treasurer by Richard III in 1484, and died in 1490. 

Awesome banners are by Pete's flags - still drawn from the batch I purchased last year.

Arms of Tuchet: Ermine, a Chevon Gules
By Wikimandia - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Figures are Old Glory, and are meant to represent Household troops in plate, a category I was somewhat short on. I have more of these to paint, as well as some more Archers, artillery crew, and even some peasants to use for "Very Inferior" troops. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Birthday Book Bash (part 2) and... Belafonte

This past weekend we went out to dinner with our good friends in delayed celebration of my Birthday last  month. Their travels (to Bordeaux and Normandy) and some health issues in the extended family accounted for the delay. Along with a superb Osso Bucco for dinner, I also enjoyed the birthday gifts. Being fellow history buffs, theior finds are always interesting! And then there was the 2 bottles of Bordeaux they brought back for me, but that's another subject...

I'm rather interested to read this one, both as Gunpowder figures large in the transition in warfare from the Late Medieval period, through the Renaissance and then the "Horse and Musket" era, and because my original major was Chemistry, and chemists love things that go "BOOM!"... at least in a controlled fashion!

The same friends saw my post on the Battle of the Hydaspes, and figured I needed some additional reference materials for Alexander and his times! 

Actually rather complimentary rather than duplicative!

They also volunteer at the local library, and scour the donations of used books for Napoleonic themes, and pass them along top me. I really need to retire to have time to read all this great stuff!

The Hero of Trafalgar... who was not always that circumspect about when to run his own "cannon" out! :-)

I read this morning that Harry Belafonte passed away last night at the age of 96. I had occasion to meet Mr. Belafonte and his wife back in 1975. It was just before the start of the Fall Semester, and my freind Tom and I were in the dorms well before most other students, because we both played in the UConn Marching Band, and all band members were expected to report about a week before the start of classes for preseason music and drill practice. We lived a couple of doors apart on the same floor of  Ellsworth Hall. Anyway, I Tom and I were in his dorm room, shooting the breeze after band practice. As usual, it was hot in early September, so we had to room's window and door open to keep some airflow going. Anyway, in walked Mr. and Mrs. Belafonte. who, like many other parents in September, were helping their son move into his new dorm room, which was near to both of ours. They were genuinely lovely people, and we answered many of their questions about campus and UConn in general. Tom, however, was mortified afterwards, because he had been in a somewhat silly mood, and had popped a set of Mickey Mouse ears on his head right before this, and thus the entire conversation took place with same as his chapeau! I wish I could speak well of his son, but as a college student he was a waste of tuition. I don't think he ever said a word to any of us.  He never went to class, played his expensive stereo system most of the day and late into the night, and far to loud; to this day I cannot stand the sound of his favorite song at the time. "What a Difference a Day Makes"!  His poor roommate was a defensive back on the football team, and a heck of a nice guy, actually.  Steve had a concussion every Sunday and was usually in a daze after the game on Saturday; even way back then they made him stop playing for medical reasons at the end of the season. Anyway, Harry's son flunked out, unsurprisingly, at the end of the semester. Tom and I, who both wound up graduating summa cum laude, had little sympathy, except for his Dad, who was strikingly handsome and had a charming personality. I understand his son subsequently had a successful career as a music producer ("it's who you know, not what you know .." is proven true once again!)

We actually used one of Harry's more famous songs, "Day-O" ("The Banana Boat Song") as the basis of the long running skit the Staff did at the Scout Camp that I worked at for 4 summers. Most of us knew Harry from his music and acting careers, but he was a long time civil rights activist, and close freind of Sidney Potier and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. He continued to support civil rights, both here and around the world, throughout his life, and and supported LGBTQ causes as part of that commitment. He was one of the good ones. I'm happy to have made his acquaintance, even very briefly, nearly 50 years ago. 

"Mary's Boy Child" - music, lyrics, and performance by Harry Belafonte

"Jamaica Farewell", Harry Belafonte, Ed Sullivan Show, 1956


Friday, April 21, 2023

Wurttemberg Horse Artillery

The uniforms of the Wurttemberg Horse Artillery differed from that of the foot artillery in a a number of relatively minor ways.

White plumes were generally warm on their Raupenhelms.

Black sashes were worn about the waist.

The shabraques on the horses were blue piped with yellow, which had a central black line down the middle. 

The turnbacks on their jackets were yellow, piped black, definitely different from the jackets of the Foot Artillery. 

These are yet again ,ore marvelous figures from Lucas Luber and Piano Wargames in Germany. 

This is how my stands look when the guns are "limbered". Each of my batteries  is ordinarily made up of two bases. 

The bases are placed one behind the other, and the guns are positioned off the rear of the stand instead of the front. 

The "mounted gunners" are surplus figures from the Wurttemberg Chevauleger and Dragoon sets, painted in the appropriate uniforms.

Since my cavalry units have 8 figures, and 3 sets of Cavalry figures have 9 figures, the math works out right!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Hessen-Darmstadt Army Review

Although the figures were all finished in the frst half of the last quarter, the Hessians never got a proper Army review. 

The army of Hessen-Darmstatd certainly epitomizes the "Pocket Army" ideal. 

All in all, it's a very satisfying, nicely balanced force. 

Three infantry units ("brigades"), made up of a total of 9 battalions if you used that scale) , one battery, and one cavalry unit.

All figures once again by Lucas Luber and Piano Wargames.

"The Indefatigable Hessians" - chapter title about the Hessians in 1809, from John Gill's excellent "With Eagles to Glory". 


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Wurttemberg Foot Artillery

Prior to 1805, the Wurttemberg artillery was limited to regimental guns As of that year, the artillery arm was consolidated to create 2 foot and 1 horse battery.

By 1809, the Wurttemberg Artillery arm had expanded to 4 foot batteries (3 light and one heavy), and 3 horse batteries (one now  forming part of the Royal Guard).

Until 1807 or 1808, the artillery wore a Rumsfeld style helmet similar to early infantry helmet, with falling horsehair in the back, but by 1808 a Raupenhelm similar to the new headgear, but with a shorter crest, was adopted. 

The exact hue of the coats for the Wurttemberg Artillery is a matter of some debate, some depictions being light blue or azure in color. Based on the information in Rawkins book about the Wurttemberg army, I have gone with a lighter shade than the infantry, but not really a light blue or turquoise hue. 

The carriages of the Wurttemberg artillery are noted to have been varnished but not painted. 

Rawkins notes that the foot artillery Raupenhelm had light blue plumes on the side for full dress. so  some figures in this battery (drawn from spares from the Horse Artillery set) are so depicted. 

These are of course more of the fantastic figures from Lucas Luber and Piano Wargames. 

The wood grain effect on the carriages shows off very well. 

Lovely models all, now joining the 5 Wurttemberg infantry battalions already painted. 

Plenty more Wurttembergers still to paint!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

1st Quarter 2023 statistics

Well, I can't claim to have as good a 1st quarter as the Men's Basket ball team who finished with an NCAA national championship last weekend, but it makes a good graphic for Q1 of 2023. I certainly have plenty of connection to the University; 2 degrees (BS, Chemistry, MD), and I payed in the Marching Band all 4 years and the Basketball Pep Band my senior year (back when winning the Yankee conference was a big deal, and the women's team was an afterthought, not the powerhouse it has been for the past several decades). My wife and sister in law are also UConn grads, and I can also claim more than 30 years as a clinical professor for the School of Medicine. Not at all  the least, my attendance at UConn lead to meeting Joe (Fishtales blog), a story that is told here, as part of my "Dice and Tin Men" series.  As a result of my time in the band, I can still pay the school's fight song, "UConn Husky" (oddly enough, despite the play on words, the Husky mascot dates back to when the school was Connecticut Agricultural college), and sing the alma mater (in the band, we sung it on the field during every pregame show, and at any meal we shared as a group - even when the band toured Europe). Now back to wargaming!  :-)


January 2023
Hessen Darmstadt Foot Artillery (55 points),Hessen Darmstadt Chevaulegers (90 points), Hessen Darmstadt High Command (35 points), Spanish Limber (40 points)   =  220 points

February 2023
Scots Lancers (60 points), Scots Cavalry 60 points), Scots Dragoons (60 points), Scots Command (35), Wurttemberg IR #4 (90 points)    = 305 points

March 2023
Scots Lancers (60 points), Wurttemberg IR #2 (90 points), Scots Dragoons (60 points), Wurttemberg Fussjagers (90 points), Scots Cavalry (60 points),  Wurttemberg Light Infantry (90 points), Scots Artillery (120 points), Wurttemberg IR #3 (90 points)    =  630 points

1st Quarter Total:   1155 points - a strong performance!


January 2023
Old Glory (More Wars of the Roses figures) $130, Castle of Burgundy Kickstarter $129.80

February 2023
Powercell Games $19 (dice deal), HAVOC Registration fee $10

March 2023
Huang Kickstarter $64.90

1st Quarter Total:   $ 353.70  In pretty good shape for the budget - No Piano Wargames Kickstarter this quarter!


January 2023
2nd Manassa (BBB)

February 2023
Bisham Abbey (FK&P)  

March 2023
Vyazma 1812 (Battle Command)

1st Quarter Total:  3 games - a bit below goal

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Raising HAVOC 2023

I have attended and run games at Battle Group Boston's annual early spring miniature wargames convention, HAVOC, a number of times over the years. The convention was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, and I did not consider attending in 2022, either. Indeed, the last time I attended was in 2019, and that year heavy snow that weekend really cut down attendance. I wasn't planning on attending this year either, but a month or so before the show the organizers put out a call for more games. Up until 2019, when I had attended, I had made the roughly 2.5 hr drive to the convention, set up my game, run it, packed it up, and driven home the same day. The last time I did that, in ? 2018, I decided that was just too much for one day. In 2019, I stayed overnight in a not that nearby hotel with my freind Greg Hansen from HAHGS, and ran games Saturday afternoon and Sunday AM. I answered the email saying that I would run a couple of games, IF I could find someone to share a room with.  The convention had relocated to a new venue, the Best Western hotel in Marlborough, MA, with on site rooms, restaurant, etc. It turned out that Greg was attending and had a room, so we shared it Saturday night. Good deal! 

Saturday afternoon I ran a 28 mm Napoleonic game, set in Spain in 1809, "The Spanish Ulcer", using the new Valor and Fortitude rules (free from Perry Miniatures website).

We had 7 players, 4 Spanish and 3 "French" (which included a Division each of Rheinbund and Vistula Legion troops). 


French cavalry charge a roughly equal number of Spanish cavalry; the French had a real quality advantage here. One of the players had to leave an hour before the game was scheduled to conclude, so I assigned him the Iberian horsemen!  :-)

The Spanish cavalry punched above t5heir weight for a while, but ultimately both Divisions broke and ran... as expected. 

The Spanish infantry were another matter. Although their quality was lower, and about 20% of the units were Militia, the advantage they had in numbers wound up more than compensating.

One Spanish Cavalry Division has already broken and run off the field, and the second, down to just one remaining unit, will soon follow!

Measuring command radius for the Spanish  C-in-C. 

The Spanish had a small force of inferior cavalry on their right flank.. but they were unopposed by enemy horsemen, and managed to outmaneuver the opposing French when their Division failed an activation roll. In the end, 3 French infantry commands broke as opposed to 2 Spanish Cavalry, and the Spanish held all 5 objectives, one of which counted double due to the play of a Fate card. For the French, it was Bailen revisited!

Friday night, I actually played in someone else's game for a change. This was a game of Conquistadors under Cortez vs the Maya. This engagement ocurred prior to the Conquistadors encountering the Aztecs and their allies a little later. 

I wound up commanding 2 Maya warbands on the far right of our position. 

Our aim was to delay the conquistadors, and prevent them from sacking the Mayan village (above). 

The rules used were a variant of Feudal Combat Patrol by Buck Surdu; almost all of the outcomes in the game are governed by the cards in the deck that each player has. The Conquistadors had many combat advantages, but in the end they got bogged down in indecisive combats in the vegetation and made little progress. Many Maya fell, but so did quite a few of the "men of Steel". Surprisingly, all of my boys returned home to the village alive! 

Sunday morning, I ran "A Passage to India", with To the Strongest!, pitting the army of Alexander the Great against that of King Porus. Although there was the full complement of 8 players registered, only 4 showed up, so we opted to fight with half of the armies. In many ways, Edgar (in the red shirt) is responsible for this game; he sold me that big trove of  unpainted 28 mm Macedonian figures about 10 years ago. I have now painted most, but still not all of them! 

Edgar faced off against Devin, who was attending his first ever wargames convention. Naturally, the newcomer prevailed, the inferior Indian Cavalry being bolstered by the decidedly impressive Indian heavy chariots!

In the center, the Indian long bowmen loosed innumerable arrows, almost all to little effect (the phalangites were saving on 5+). They used the "Shoot and Scoot" to stay just out of reach of the fearsome Phalanx units as long as possible. When the pikes finally got stuck in, the Macedonian player scored few hits, and the Indians saved almost every one, despite many units needing a 9+ to save! With the Macedonian infantry frustrated, the win went to Porus after an Indian chariot smashed Alexander himself and his companions! 

I had time to take a few quick pictures of other games on Sunday morning. Sci Fi Naval with Silent Death.

Battle of Sidi Rezegh, 1943, Axis and Allies miniatures.

A western skirmish game with Playmobil figuires

Dem bones, dem bones...

Mark Morin was back with the Battle of Lake Texococo; Cortez actually constructed warships inland to seize control of the Lake and cut off the Aztec capitol. 

The new site was a big upgrade, and hopefully will spur further growth of this venerable convention!